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Raymone Moore v. City of Chicago

March 30, 2011

RAYMONE MOORE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, AND )CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER CHRIST SAVICKAS, STAR 5991, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Raymone Moore alleges that Chicago Police Officer Christ Savickas arrested him without probable cause, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Counts I and II), and threatened to falsely charge him with possession of a gun unless he offered up information on drug and weapons deals. Plaintiff also alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress in connection with the arrest (Count III), claims the City of Chicago is liable through respondeat superior (Count IV), and seeks indemnification for the claims against Savickas from the City (Count V). Defendants Savickas and the City of Chicago move for summary judgment, arguing that Savickas had probable cause to arrest Plaintiff, and that Savickas's actions do not support a charge of intentional infliction of emotional distress. For the reasons explained herein, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted as to Counts III and IV, and otherwise denied.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Raymone Moore alleges claims for unreasonable seizure and false arrest pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as a state law claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, respondeat superior, and indemnification pursuant to 745 ILCS 10/9-102. Defendants City of Chicago and Officer Christ Savickas have moved for summary judgment on Moore's claim, arguing that Savickas had probable cause to detain and arrest Moore.

On May 1, 2009, at approximately 1 a.m., Officers Savickas, Agustin Torres, Jr., and Linda Winclechter, were patrolling near 37th Street and Michigan Avenue in Chicago. (Def.'s 56.1(a) ¶ 16.) Savickas drove the patrol car, Torres rode in the front passenger seat, and Winclechter sat in the back seat. (Id. ¶ 17.) Savickas made eye contact with an individual walking near that intersection, who then dropped an unregistered .357 Strum, Ruger, & Co. revolver with six live rounds and ran west and north down Michigan Avenue. (Id. ¶¶ 18-20.) Savickas stopped the car, exited, and recovered the gun. (Id. ¶ 20.) Savickas asked Torres and Winclechter to drive around the block in an attempt to find the individual who dropped the gun, but they were unsuccessful. (Id. ¶¶ 21-23.) Savickas prepared a case incident report in which he described the individual as a black male, 150 pounds, aged sixteen to twenty, and noted that he recognized the individual from previous encounters. (Id. ¶ 25.) Savickas testified that he did not know the individual's name. (Savickas Deposition, Ex. 3 to Def.'s Br. at 30.)

On May 3, 2009, at approximately 5:30 p.m. Savickas detained Plaintiff near the intersection of 39th Avenue and Calumet Street, and accused him of dropping the gun two days earlier. Plaintiff denied this. (Def.'s 56.1(a) ¶¶ 29-31.) Savickas nevertheless handcuffed Plaintiff and transported him to the Second District Police Station. (Id. ¶¶31-34.) The parties agree that Savickas asked Plaintiff for information about illegal drugs, and Plaintiff provided Savickas with an address where he believed there might be drug or gun activity--but the circumstances under which this occurred remain in dispute. (Id. ¶¶ 35, 37.) Torres had been riding in the patrol car with Savickas when Moore was arrested; although Torres did not recognize Moore from the May 1 incident, when Moore was arrested he did not tell Savickas either that he could or could not identify Moore. (Torres Deposition, Ex. 4 to Def.'s Br. at 27-30.) Twenty to thirty minutes after Moore, Torres, and Savickas arrived at the police station, Savickas exited the interview with Moore and asked Torres whether he could identify Moore; Torres said he could not. (Torres Deposition at 35; Def.'s 56.1(a) ¶ 37.) Winclechter did not work on May 3, and only found out about Moore's arrest from Savickas and Torres the following week. (Winclechter Deposition, Ex. 5 to Def.'s Br. at 22- 24.) Eventually, Savickas allowed Plaintiff to use Savickas's personal cell phone to call Plaintiff's girlfriend, and Plaintiff then left the police station, precisely when this occurred is disputed. (Id. ¶¶41-43.) Plaintiff was not charged for possession of the gun. Plaintiff initiated a complaint regarding this incident with the Internal Affairs Division Confidential Investigation Section, but did not sign the complaint.*fn1 (Id. ¶ 47.)

Plaintiff and Defendants present wholly divergent accounts of what occurred between the time Savickas brought Plaintiff to the police station and when he was released. Plaintiff alleges that he was handcuffed to a bench in the police station for 45 minutes to an hour while waiting to talk with Savickas (Pl.'s 56.1(b) ¶ 8); Defendants contend handcuffs were removed altogether after five to ten minutes. (Def.'s Resp. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff claims he was taken into an interrogation room (Pl.'s 56.1(b) ¶ 9); Defendants contend it was a clerical staff office. (Def.'s Resp. ¶ 9.) Defendants allege that Plaintiff volunteered information about individuals who might have drugs (Def.'s Resp. ¶¶ 10-11); Plaintiff contends when he was initially asked for information, he refused to give any. (Pl.'s 56.1(b) ¶¶ 10-11.)

Plaintiff further alleges that Savickas showed him a gun in a plastic bag, and told him that he would be charged with gun possession and face significant jail time if he did not provide information about individuals with drugs, and that he gave information because of this threat. (Pl.'s 56.1(b) ¶¶ 12-14.) According to Plaintiff, Savickas told him, "You've got until Thursday. . . . Youneed to have something for me or I am going to have to put this gun on you." (Id. ¶ 15.) Plaintiff claims Savickas gave Plaintiff his personal phone number, and told him to call by Thursday or face arrest. (Id. ¶ 16.) Then, having interrogated Plaintiff from 6:50 p.m. until 8:40 p.m., Plaintiff claims, Savickas released him without charges, letting him out through a back door. (Pl.'s 56.1(b) ¶¶ 17-19.) Defendants deny the entirety of these events, except that they admit that Plaintiff was not charged, and that Savickas provided Plaintiff with his personal cell phone number. (Def.'s Resp. ¶¶ 12-19; Savickas Deposition at 44.) Defendants contend Plaintiff was released 45 minutes after arriving at the police station and was offered a ride home, but Plaintiff declined the offer. (Id.)

Plaintiff claims that after the incident Plaintiff was afraid of being falsely arrested, and that he moved to Michigan because of his fear of encountering Savickas. (Pl.'s 56.1(b) ¶¶ 20-21.) The parties agree that Plaintiff lived in that area until September 2009, and was arrested in that vicinity in August 2009. (Def.'s Resp. ¶ 21.)

DISCUSSION

Summary judgment should be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court construes all facts and draws all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Lloyd v. Swifty Transp., Inc., 552 F.3d 594, 600 (7th Cir. 2009).

I. Unreasonable Seizure

Plaintiff first alleges that Savickas's seizure of him violated the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches or seizures. "[P]olice may arrest an individual if they have probable cause to believe that the individual engaged in criminal conduct." United States v. Burnside, 588 F.3d 511, 517 (7th Cir. 2009). "Probable cause is a fluid concept based on common-sense interpretations of reasonable police officers as to the totality of the circumstances known at the time the event occurred." United States v. Ellis, 499 F.3d 686, 689 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation and quotation omitted). Furthermore, "[t]he officers' subjective motivations are irrelevant so long as they have probable cause to justify the search and seizure." Burnside, 588 F.3d at 517-18.

Based on Savickas's account of events, there is no question that probable cause to arrest existed: Savickas claims that he believed Moore dropped an illegal gun two days earlier, a criminal act. Even if Savickas intended to pump Moore for information, his arrest ...


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